Touting his communication credentials, Spio-Garbrah said his strategy of forming an 18-man committee to tour the country to explain the need for Ghanaians to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) yielded the intended dividend Ghanaians are enjoying today in the form of infrastructure development and other social amenities.
He was of the view that without the committee, Ghanaians would have rejected the policy for the second time after series of demonstration led by current president Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Nana Addo led the ‘Kumi Preko’ demonstrations against VAT when it was first introduced in 1995. Four people died out of that demonstration and it took my communication intervention to convince Ghanaians to be persuaded to accept the tax,” he said
He told The Finder that VAT, also known in some countries as Goods and Services Tax (GST), was rejected by the masses when it was first introduced by former President Jerry John Rawlings, but when he was tasked to communicate the benefits of VAT after he identified the communication vacuum, Ghanaians understood and appreciated its benefit, which was subsequently accepted as the main revenue source for the country over the past two decades.
He holds the view that what the NDC needs now is someone who would persuade Ghanaians to vote for the party in the 2020 elections to serve two terms, and delegates need someone who would bring his expertise of persuasion to bear.
This, according to Spio-Garbrah, makes him stand tall among the other six aspirants so far as his rich communication background, both locally and internationally, is concerned.
Not only did he hope to bring his communication prowess to bear, but he believes that the experience gathered from the four ministries he served affords him a greater advantage over the rest of the candidates.
“I served in four ministries, including the Communications, Trade and Industry, Education and Mines and Energy; none of the aspirants have achieved this feat. Delegates need a persuasive communicator to convince the masses to vote for the NDC in the 2020 elections”, hence he is the preferred candidate and best fit for the job, he added.
Spio-Garbrah, who was born in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, has served as the CEO of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), a member of UNESCO executive board and ambassador for United States and Mexico.
Touching on uniting in the NDC, Spio-Garbrah indicated his commitment to bringing all factions within the party together since in unity lies strength.
“I can pull people together because I’m a unifier and I know without unity we can’t make progress. I will bring together not only former presidents but all other groups who may be disaffected, unhappy after primaries because anytime there are frictions after internal elections, people become bitter, he stated.
“This is the time to unite and rally the smaller parties together as allies so we can bring their percentage from elections to soar our figures to win in 2020.”
Spio-Garbrah said to the extent that the rate of inflation is decreasing, budget deficit and interest rates are lowering are in fulfillment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme aimed at achieving a good microeconomic stability, but the problem is that the indicators may be good, but Ghanaians are not feeling the positive effects in their pockets and every part of the economy is tight, which may not be good indication after all.
“The NPP never told Ghanaians to sacrifice for the future, and people assume that after they came into office, things will just get better automatically because that’s how they sold themselves to Ghanaians.
“They want you to get better immediately like Free SHS, ‘One Village One Dam’ and ‘One District, One Factory’ without telling Ghanaians to sacrifice so it’s difficult for them to come back to Ghanaians to tell them things are not moving well.
“If you ask every 10 businessmen in a day about the economy, they will all tell you things are not going on well,” he said.
Social media regulations
If Ghana can find a better way of regulating social media, that will be laudable, but that can’t be possible without the International Telecommunication Union’s recommendations, he stated.
“I can’t see Ghana independently on its own regulate social media because it’s global media, and if China, India, America and Britain don’t agree with you, it won’t work,” he said.